Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Hejab, and Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Today was again a rather unremarkable day. However the two religio-political talks were the highlights. The first one was about Hejab in Iran, more specifically titled, " Good hejab, bad hejab: Veiling as a form of imperfect obedience in Iran". Elizabeth Bucar had spent 3 months in Iran doing field work on her dissertation, and came back with different viewpoints of feminism and Islamic women's position in society. She talked about what was considered "good" hejab and "bad" hejab, along with different kinds of hejab. By the way, hejab means veil if you didn't know that already. From what I got out of her talk, women utilize whatever opportunities they have within the confines of Islam to further their cause including participating in politics and public offices. So, they are more progressive that they are given credit for. She and I too was surprised to hear that hejab was not the biggest issue in their lives. I guess as a feminist, she expected the position of women in Islamic society to be a big concern. It seems like the youth is heading the "bad" or more fashionable hejab practice while women in power positions respect the codes of clothing that has been imposed on them by religion and more so by society.

Here is an example of "bad" hejab:

Here is an example of "good" hejab:

And the other talk was about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It was supposed to be at grass roots level to provide an introduction to the controversy. It was pretty informative, and I learnt a lot more about the volatile politics of the region. I also got confirmation of the imminent collapse of the Palestinian government if returned to autonomy. They have no money, and simply can not survive economically. How can Hamas be so naive to think that if Israel gives them what they want, Palestine will be around to reap the benefits? I see so many parallels with the Indo-Pak conflict regarding Kashmir. Really, I can't believe that land is so integral to people's pride and ego. I guess it's hard for me to see that if I am a pragmatist. Anyway, there is no simple solution to the issue. So, I can't wait to see what the brilliant stragetists come up with.

Tags: Opinion, Politics

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